2017 Fusion Featured Instructors

Chantel

Chantel Aguirre, trained with The San Francisco Ballet and The Dance Company of San Francisco until moving to New York City to study at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has performed in numerous works with San Francisco Ballet. Has worked with Beyonce, Adele, Florence and the Machine, Taylor Swift, The Goo Goo Dolls, Ceelo Green, Bruno Mars, Christina Perri, Chris Brown and Carrie Underwood. She has been on “Dancing with the Stars”, SYTYCD, The Academy Awards with LXD, the MTV Video Music Awards, AMA’s, MACY’s Passport, The Billboard Awards, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the BET Awards, GLEE, XFactor, Good Christian Belles, Two and a Half Men and Mad Men. She was a part of Travis Wall’s skeleton crew for ‘Step Up 4” and was assistant choreographer to Sonya Tayeh for Kylie Minogue’s “Aphrodite” World Tour.

Matt

Matt Cady, the creator and choreographer for the world-renowned dance crew, Fanny Pak, from ABDC Season 2. In 2008, Fanny Pak became the first dance crew to ever receive an award at the MTV Video Music Awards. More recently, the dance crew also filmed dance sequences for the new movie, Honey 2. Matt choreographed the music videos “Truly In Love” by Lil’ Mama (feat. Fanny Pak), and “China Doll” by Natalise. He’s choreographed live stage performances for artists such as Shoshana Bean, Ty, Natalise, and under the direction of Brian Friedman, Lauren Hildebrandt. He’s also assisted choreographed on the kid’s television show “Hip Hop Harry”. His dancing credits include Missy Elliot, ABC Family’s “Life of an American Teenager”, Jessica Simpson, Finger 11, and Erin Hamilton. He also instructs dancers worldwide.

Dee

Dee Caspary, choreographer and Director of Staging for Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/Love Show. He choreographs for So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars. He has directed and choreographed LIVE events for Billboard Live, Hard Rock Café, Oakley, Key Club, and The Stone Movement. Dance Magazine said, “Dee Caspary is the modern day Fosse of our generation.” Dee has choreographed for professional companies worldwide.

Tina Caspary, grew up in the Southern California dance scene and has worked in every facet of the entertainment industry. Her career as a dancer, actor and instructor has been varied and fulfilling. Her work includes appearances with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Reba McEntire and she was a principal dancer on the Academy Awards for 5 years under Debbie Allen’s tutelage. Tina was a featured actress in four motion pictures: My Mom’s a Werewolf, Mac & Me, Teen Witch, and Can’t Buy Me Love, as well as many made for television movies like News at Eleven, Combat High, and TV sitcoms Silver Spoons, Married with Children, and Growing Pains. She has also appeared in countless TV commercials and industrials. As a technical coach, Tina owned her own dance studio, Studio C, in Downey, CA for 10 years where she trained many of today’s premier dancers and choreographers before spending the last 18 years as a traveling choreographer. During this time she started her own line of quality, dance inspired activewear, Ktrna, for which she is President and Chief Designer. Tina’s is also a proud mother of 2 awesome kiddos

Jo Ann Cusmano, has enjoyed a long and diverse career as an accomplished academic and arts administrator, faculty member; professional dancer and choreographer; teacher, coach and mentor. She holds a BFA in Dance/Theatre and a MA in Administration from Marygrove College in Detroit. In addition, she completed post-degree studies at Goldsmith College and the Laban Centre in London, England and is certified at the Advanced Level in Labanotation and trained in Movement Analysis and Effort-Shape as well as Dance Therapy. Jo Ann is also a 2010 graduate of Leadership Detroit. Ms. Cusmano served at Marygrove College in numerous roles including: Dean of Continuing Education and Community Service, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Executive Director of the Division of Continuing Education and Career Enhancement, and as an Adjunct Professor of Dance. She recently retired from Marygrove College and has been honored with the title Vice President Emeritus. JoAnn began her dance training at the early age of three, and studied with numerous nationally and internationally acclaimed teachers including: Grace Thomas, Jon Rodriguez, Iacob Lascu, Melissa Hayden, Gregory Robinson, Bess Saylor, Martha Graham, Mary Hinkson, Jurgen Schneider, Gus Giordano, Paul Sanasardo, Margaret Craske, and David Howard among many others. As a professional dancer/actress, Jo Ann performed with Detroit City Ballet Company, Michigan Ballet Theatre, Dance Detroit, Michigan Opera Theatre, Max Davey Singers and Dancers, University of Detroit Theatre, Macomb College Barn Theatre, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and many community theatres. She has also worked as rehearsal director, stage manager and director of several local productions. Since 2000, she has held the position as Children’s Rehearsal Director for the Michigan Opera Theatre production of the Nutcracker Ballet at the Detroit Opera House working with the Joffrey Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet Company, Ballet International, BalletMet Columbus and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Jo Ann was recently selected to serve as the local Ballet Master/Rehearsal Director for American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Detroit Opera House with choreography by Marius Petipa and with staging and choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. She will serve as the Children’s Rehearsal Director for Michigan Opera Theatre’s upcoming new production of the Nutcracker Ballet with the Cincinnati Ballet Company.

Lauren Gaul, performed as a Radio City Rockette for 10 years appearing in the Christmas Spectacular, NBC Behind The Scenes Special, Monday Night Football, Columbus Day Parade, and numerous other shows and events. She performed in shows such as Nothing Like a Dame, Dance Break, The Astaire Awards, The Élan Awards and numerous industrials. She performed in industrials for Audi, Astra Zeneca, Warburg Pinkus and with companies such as Tap Team II & Co, Journey Dance Co., and as a guest artist with Riedel Dance Theater. Lauren choreographed industrials for Lady Footlocker, IZOD, Capezio, Sesame Street, and Sesame Workshop featuring recording artist Brandy. Most recently she choreographed Tennesse William’s The Mutilated starring Mink Stole and Penny Arcade (Off Broadway). Her work has been presented at Jacobs Pillow, Jazz Dance World Congress, Broadway Dance Center, the Bridge for Dance and numerous other venues. She was assistant choreographer for Broadway Bares, the Élan Awards, Chicago (Regional), Torched (Off Broadway), and for cruise lines such as Princess and Celebrity. She received her MFA from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance and is an ABT® Certified Teacher. Lauren is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Pace University in the Commercial Dance Program.

Suzanne Hawkins, taught at Oakland University and was the Ballet Master for the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Rochester Hills, MI. She has studied both the Ceccetti and Russian methods of ballet. Suzanne has also taken teachers’ training programs with the American Ballet Theater, National Ballet School of Canada, Norwegian National Ballet, Ballet Intensive from Moscow, and Finis Jhung.Her students have been accepted to summer programs and gained professional employment with the American Ballet Theater, The Julliard School (NY), Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Joffrey Ballet School, Milwaukee Ballet, Virginia School of the Arts, Boston Ballet, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and International Ballet Ensemble among others. Suzanne is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum.

Jess

Jessica Hendricks, graduated from the University of Colorado with a BFA in Dance. Her training consisted of summers at Perry Mansfield School of the Performing Arts, American Dance Festival, Harvard Dance Festival, EDGE Scholarship, Gus Giordano and Hubbard Dance Street. Her credits include commercials and industrials. Jess has worked on the tours of HAIR, Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar as Dance Captain, performed for the opening premiers of Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby and can be seen in movies. She has danced in or been the assistant choreographer to the Elan Awards, Bob Fosse Awards, Ms. America Pageant, Carnival, Dance Break and Broadway Bares. Jess has choreographed New York musicals and movies. She currently teaches at Pace University in NYC as an adjunct professor.

Blake

Blake McGrath, was chosen to perform in Michael Jackson’s thirtieth anniversary special in 2003. In 2005, McGrath participated as a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. In 2006, he performed alongside Paulina Rubio Latin Grammy Awards. He has appeared in Gap campaigns and in advertisements for iPod, Old Navy (which he also choreographed), and Hummer. He has danced with stars such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Adam Lambert, Ashanti, Destiny’s Child, P!nk, Craig David, Jewel. McGrath has also appeared in the films Butterbox Babies, Life With Mikey, Chicago, and Rent. He was a featured dancer in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody in the episode Commercial Breaks. He studied at both Tiffany Dance Academy and Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Ontario. Lastly, he appeared on Dance Moms as a guest choreographer.

Ricky

Ricky Palomino, was an original member of Cedar Lake Dance Company in NYC, H.T Chen Dance & Co. and was an Alvin Ailey and Broadway Dance Center Scholarship Recipient. Ricky was a dancer on SYTYCD Season 3 and Dancing with the Starts. Ricky choreographed the show, Daylight Come, in LA. He taught at West Coast Dance Explosion, iHollywood, CanDance, and SHOCK Dance Conventions. Ricky assisted Emmy Award Winning Choreographers, Mia Michaels on Season 4 of SYTYCD. Ricky has worked alongside Gloria Estefan and choreographed for The Pointer Sisters, Kristine W, Taylor Dane, and the legendary Patti LaBelle.

Karen Prall, is founder and director of the Art of Motion Dance Theatre. A native Detroiter, she began classical modern dance training under Ms. Kathryn G. Ellis. She studied Dunham and Horton technique under Mrs. Penny Godboldo. Making the journey to New York, she continued to study ballet and modern dance at Martha Graham’s school of contemporary dance and Alvin Ailey’s school of dance. Her teacher, Titos Sompa, sparked her curiosity in Central African dance. She soon joined Mr. Sompa’s Tanawa the first Congolese dance company in the U.S. After returning to Detroit she continued Dunham training with Clifford Fears, Penny Godboldo, and Congolese dance with Biza Sompa, joining Bichinis Bia Congo. Her extensive research and training includes study in Brazzaville, Congo-Paris; Dakar, Senegal-Monrovia, Liberia; Accra, Ghana and Mexico. Her passion and dedication to the local and global community as a performer, choreographer and instructor is evidenced in her ongoing creative and educational work. Ms. Prall was co-director in 2006 and director in 2007of WSU CompanyOne and the touring program Dance Africa Detroit.

Michael Keefe, was a featured dancer with the Massachusetts Youth Ballet. He also focused on tap, and performed with “Mike Minery and Friends,” “Tap Kids,” and “Break the Floor.” He expanded his training at NYU’s Tisch School. He has toured with JoJo and Hilary Duff, and was a principal dancer with “Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance.” Rasta Thomas and Michael went on to create a show called “Tap Stars” which brought together a number of top tap dancers in Germany. Michael has toured with “Tap the Map,” “Rhythmic Circus,” and “Shaping Sound.” He has performed with Kelly Clarkson, and has danced in the documentary, “Movement One,” and Shaping Sound’s film collaborating with Olafur Arnolds and many more. He recently taught at Break The Floor’s newest convention, 24/7.

Samantha Shelton, is currently on faculty for the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensives and Ballet Professor at Grand Valley State University. She received her professional training from the Joffrey Ballet and the David Howard Dance Center in New York and in Michigan with Rose Marie Floyd. She has also trained in London with Anita Young, former soloist with the Royal Ballet and at the Cecchetti Summer Program. For the past 15 years, she has been on the ballet faculty for American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, teaching, setting ABT repertoire and choreographing new ballets for the final performances. She has also taught and choreographed for the professional ballet program at the Walnut Hill School in Boston, directed by former ABT principal, Michael Owen, Grand Valley State University, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, and was on the faculty at the Interlochen Arts Academy for three summers. She has performed extensively in both classical and contemporary ballets, including the Grand Pas from Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, also principal roles in Giselle and Raymonda. She has been on the ballet faculties of Wayne State University, Alma College, and the Detroit Opera House, where she was the Artistic Director for the Civic Dance Ensemble. Samantha holds an M.F.A in Dance from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded a Rackham Thesis grant and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan. She has also done graduate work at New York University in Performing Arts Administration with internships in development and marketing at Carnegie Hall and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. For six years, she served on the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance Alumni Society Board of Governors. In May of 2012, she traveled to Taiwan to teach master classes and present a piece of her choreography “Emperor Concerto” at Tainan University in Tainan, Taiwan. She is certified through the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and has co-taught the ABT NTC with Harriet Clark.

Katie Wiley received her early training at Young People’s Ballet Theatre in Flint, MI. In 2014 she graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Pedagogy and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While with Butler Ballet she performed works by Derek Reid, Susan McGuire, and Cynthia Pratt as well as full-length ballets including Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. From 2014-2017 Katie was an apprentice with Eisenhower Dance where she performed works by Edgar Zendejas, Jamie Hampton, Stephanie Pizzo, and Laurie Eisenhower, among many others. Katie has also attended summer programs with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, and Carolina Ballet.

Ali Woller Woener, is currently Assistant Professor of Dance at Oakland University and received her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Performing Arts from Oklahoma City University. Ali teaches modern technique, choreography and directs the Oakland Dance Theater student company, Throughout her diverse career within both commercial (performing as a Radio City Rockette for six years) and contemporary mediums, Ali has performed and taught all over the world; including Colombia, Costa Rica and Japan. Her choreographic voice started finding itself with her first company, Shifting Sol. In 2013, Ali joined forces with fellow Assistant Professor of Dance, Thayer Jonutz and co- founded the professional contemporary modern dance company, Take Root, currently in residence at OU. Ali has set her choreography for various companies including: Inaside Jazz Dance Chicago, Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company, Wayne State University, Albion College, Oakland University’s Repertory Dance Company, Oakland Dance Theatre and Eastern Michigan University. Ali has taught master classes for the American College Dance Festival (where her work has also been performed), Michigan Dance Council, National Dance Education Organization and is a choreography judge for the National Society of Arts and Letters. She also choreographs for the Musical Theatre program at Oakland University. Ali is the Private Sector Column Editor and a member of the Executive Editorial Board for the Journal of Dance Education.

Shauna Zambelli, was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where she trained at Suzettes Masters of Dance. Shauna continued her training at the Performing Arts Center in Van Nuys California. Some of Shauna’s professional dance credits include, Fox network’s Ally McBeal and The Tracey Ullman Show, Microsoft Industrial for Xbox, Casino Windsor Show Time Lounge, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the one and only Odyssey Dance Theatre, where she spent the last 5 years performing and touring. Shauna also found her love for musical theatre by joining the casts of “Chicago” where she played Liz at the Baldwin Theatre, “Cabaret” at Avon Players where she played Rosie and “Cats” at Tuacahn where she played Etcetera. As much as she loves performing, her heart is also stolen by the students she teaches. Shauna founded an in-studio dance intensive called Rapture Dance Intensive in 2006 that she travels with. She also just recently started to teach on the convention circuit with Hall of Fame. Shauna loves to teach and choreograph for kids of all levels and ages and enjoys giving back for all that she has been blessed with.